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AFRICA NOW: Senators Say They Didn’t Know About Troops in Niger

The controversy surrounding the death of four U.S. Special Operations Forces troops in Niger lingers on, as many U.S. citizens wonder what troops were doing in that country in the first place.

Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) both claimed to not know that there were 1,000 U.S. troops in Niger.

“The military determines who the threats are, they come up with the engagement policy and if we don’t like what the military does, we can defund the operation,” Graham said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. “But I didn’t know there was a thousand troops in Niger.”

Sierra Leone to Sell ‘Peace Diamond’ for Extra Revenue


Sierra Leone looks to raise millions of dollars for development projects with the auction of one of the world’s largest diamonds in December.

The government is attempting for the second time to sell the 709-carat “Peace Diamond” after rejecting a $7.8 million bid in May.

“There’s a reason God gave these diamonds to the poorest people in the world and made the richest people want them,” Martin Rapaport, chairman of Rapaport Group, a network of diamond companies which will manage the auction, told Reuters. “This is Tikun Olam [Hebrew for correcting the world], this is making the world a better place.”

Over half of the proceeds from the sale of the uncut stone will be used to fund clean water, electricity, education and health projects in Sierra Leone, particularly in the village of Koryardu, located in the eastern Kono region where the diamond was discovered.

UN Official Calls for More Relief in Africa

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently appealed for more than $5.6 billion in relief for Africa, warning that 20 million people are facing starvation in South Sudan, Somalia, North East Nigeria and Yemen.

“While we have succeeded in keeping famine at bay, we have not kept suffering at bay,” Guterres said. “In the past nine months, the need for humanitarian aid has increased in these four areas. … Until these conflicts are resolved and development takes root, communities and entire regions will continue to be ravaged by hunger and suffering.”

According to the U.N., South Sudan’s severe food insecurity has risen by 1 million. In Boko Haram-affected areas of northeast Nigeria, 8.5 million people require humanitarian assistance; in Somalia, more than 6 million people need aid for survival. In Yemen, 17 million people are also food insecure.

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Lauren M. Poteat

Lauren Poteat is a versatile writer with a strong background in communications and media experience with an additional background in education and development.

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